Review: Canon CP910 Selphy Compact Photo Printer

Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review

We interrupt our regular pen and paper programming to bring you this gadget review: the Canon CP910 Selphy compact smartphone printer!

I’ve been wanting a compact, instant photo printer for a while now. I really enjoy scrapbooking, but I usually don’t print my photos right away. In the past, this has led to a backlog of scrapbooking entries… I fall behind, and then I’m very unmotivated to catch up.

I love cute Polaroid-style cameras like the popular Fujifilm Instax, but I realized that it isn’t the most cost-effective. Because the photos are printed the moment you click the shutter, you waste film on shots of people blinking or being caught off guard.

A phone printer provides the advantage of letting you review your photos, select the best shot, and even edit in your photo editing app of choice.


I sifted through dozens of reviews and unboxing videos, ultimately narrowing the selection down to three choices: the Polaroid Zip, Instax Share, and the Canon Selphy.

Polaroid Zip

Pros: Small, ultra-pocketable size for traveling. Convenient sticky backing for instant use in scrapbooks or journals!!

Cons: The device is expensive, and so are the special ZINK paper refills.

(Side note: for a fantastic and very detailed review of this printer, check out Priya’s review of the Polaroid Zip on her blog, The London Parchment!)

Fujifilm Instax Share

Pros: Super cute and trendy polaroid frame. Photos print in retro-style color.

Cons: Also expensive due to special polaroid cartridges. Color accuracy is poor (if you aren’t specifically looking for the retro fade effect)

Canon CP910 Selphy

Pros: Most affordable and offers the best color accuracy. Takes a variety of refill sizes (postcard and smaller)

Cons: Not very portable, slow printing time, and must be plugged in to operate.

With all of the above pros and cons in mind, I chose the Canon. I bought in on Amazon, and it arrived a few weeks later.

Unboxing & Setup


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


The Canon Selphy arrives in a box that includes the printer, power cable, ink cartridge, warranty card, film paper, and instruction booklet.


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


Setup is pretty simple — plug the cable in, insert the cartridge, load the film paper, and you’re ready to go! I had it up and running in less than five minutes.

First, plug your printer in. Then, unwrap the cartridge and pop it into the printer body. There is a specific orientation that it goes in, but it’s not hard to figure it out.


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


Load the paper into the tray. Be careful not to touch the paper, or your photos will have fingerprints! The paper tray snaps securely into the front of the printer.


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


The paper tray has a lid, which protects the paper from dust when not in use. I keep the lid on most times, but when you are ready to print, flip the top cover where it says “Open” to expose the paper.


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


To connect your smartphone to the printer, navigate to your Wi-Fi settings. You’ll have to enter in a password, which is included in the setup documentation.


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


The only way to print from your phone is to download Canon’s specific printing app, Canon PRINT. It’s free on the iOS app store.

Side note: Here you can see the other photo apps I use.  Would you be interested in a blog post about my favorite photo editing apps? 


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


The app interface is pretty clunky and could use some work, but it is relatively easy to use. You can select multiple photos at a time, which is pretty convenient.

As a test image, I used the InstaCollage app to make this quick collage of a cactus shop that I visited last month!


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


The Canon Selphy printer runs on dye-sublimation technology, which uses heat to transfer colored dyes onto the photo paper. It does this in four passes: yellow, red, blue, and a shiny clear coat.

With each pass, you can see the image emerge. Four passes may seem slow, but it is actually quite fast! So fast that I didn’t capture the printing process in time for the cactus photo, so I did another test with a collage of my recent hiking trip.


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


I was pleasantly surprised by how accurately the Canon Selphy printed the colors shown on my phone screen. The colors would probably be more crisp with an actual printing service, but I thought it was very close. There was slight blurring, but only around text or borders– such as the caption and frames that I added to the collage.

Once the picture is done, it can be picked up right away. Because of the clear coat, you don’t have to worry about touching the paper now– the photo will be completely dry and ready.

Ok, back to the cactus photo.


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


You can see that there are two perforated bands on either side of the photo– I believe this extra paper is for the printer feed. Simply fold at the perforations, and they snap off easily. A slightly toothy edge is left, but it doesn’t really bother me.


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


What did bother me was that parts of my collage were cut off with the perforations, but I think this was due to the dimensions of my collage app and not due to the printer itself.

You can then clip the edges with a corner rounder, or cut it into any desired shapes!


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


Overall, I am very happy with my purchase! It may not be as novel as the cute polaroid-style instant snapshots, but it is great for my needs.

With an instant printer, I am encouraged to document my life more frequently. I already use my phone as my main camera, and now I have a quick and easy way to make my own prints that are ready for scrapbooking!


Owl Ink | Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer Review


You can find the Canon CP910 printer on Amazon. Apparently the CP910 model I just reviewed has been replaced by a newer model, so it is actually cheaper now!

These are not affiliate links and I am not connected to Amazon in any way, I just bought this for myself and wanted to share it with you all.

Bay Area Printers’ Fair 2016

Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


The Bay Area Printers’ Fair is hosted by the San Jose Printer’s Guild, a small organization of printmakers that operates out of San Jose History Park. It is an annual event that celebrates traditional printmaking, letterpress, bookbinding, papermaking, and other related arts.

The fair is true eye candy for any paper/stationery/analog nerd! I went with some of my coworkers and took way too many photos. Have a look!

First stop: A series of 4 inked tabletop presses, each with select letters of the alphabet.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


The result is a DIY multi-colored alphabet print!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


Next, the opportunity to hand-set your name! Following a diagram, you would locate the individual letters and arrange them facing backwards. Then, the letters are fixed tightly into a frame


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


Ink is rolled onto the press, and then pushing the handle down prints the letters onto a small sheet of paper!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


At another booth, stamps and woodblocks from previous print jobs were on sale for mere cents! I guess once the job is over, there is no need for the blocks anymore. It was fun looking through the interesting logos, business names, and other things.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


All the blocks are backwards. Here is a number “2”, and a some small images.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


A whole case of letters and numbers! Seeing blocks laid out like this really reminded me of the Field Notes Two Rivers edition.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


One of my favorite exhibitors at the event was Eleanor Murray, a collector and seller of vintage papers, ephemera, and other delightful wares.

Here are some vintage wildlife prints. I looked really hard for an owl print, but could not find one.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


Pages of German and Hebrew text


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


Calligraphy pamphlets. Speedball is currently on its 24th edition of the Speedball Textbook — this is the 7th edition!!!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


Pen holders and writing nibs. I’ve heard of Osmiroid — they are known for their sets, which include one fountain pen body and an assortment of screw-on calligraphy nibs.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


I was quite tempted to buy this pack of vintage nibs!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


Beautiful marbled papers. If you haven’t yet, you definitely need to check out Tessa’s recent blog post on how marbled paper is made!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


Charming prints of various flora and fauna. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some vintage Audubon prints in there!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


Travel-themed ephemera: tickets, stamps, documents in foreign languages


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


Two airmail envelopes — the top is from 1947 — over 10 years before my mom was born!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printers' Fair


Bills, receipts, and other items. Most if not all the writing was done in pencil or fountain pen ink.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


It fascinates me that these forms were probably mundane at the time they were written, but are such interesting relics now. There were also paper-clipped stacks of old letters — maybe between pen pals, business partners… a slightly voyeuristic part of me wanted to read them all.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


Other booths had assortments of new and used books for sale.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


My coworker flips through a book of typefaces.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


Tiny leatherbound almanacs, pocketbooks, and planners, alongside bags of stamps for the philatelic crowd. I was hoping to find some authentic field notes, but did not spot any.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


A stunning book of ornamental penmanship — selling for $75+. Look at how ornate that cover is!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


At another booth, you could make your own thread-bound mini book!

Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


A rather random photo of a vintage corner rounder. I have a small handheld corner rounder that I use for scrapbooking — this industrial one must be able to punch through 100 sheets of paper all at once!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


A main attraction of the event was the  “Moving Mill”, a portable paper pulp machine. The operator travels around the region showing kids and adults alike how recycled paper is made!

Here, she has just ripped up pieces of junk mail and old documents, and is turning on the engine that will grind up the papers into pulp.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


Once the papers have deteriorated enough, you can make your own sheet of recycled paper! Here is Diana dipping the screen into the watery pulp mixture


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


Once the screen is lifted, water drips out and only the pulp remains. You flip the screen upside down to drop the pulp out, and then leave it to dry into sheets.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


The printing office was open for drop-in tours, and we went inside to listen to the volunteer docents speak about the history of printmaking — from the Gutenberg Bible til modern day. They did a live demonstration of a pedal-operated press, and explained the physics behind the machines.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


Drawers full of individual letters, in all sorts of typefaces.

Apparently back in the heyday of hand-set type, the ideal employees for the task were young 11-year-old boys and girls — quick learners with small fingers, perfect for picking up those tiny little metal letters!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


A treatise posted on the wall of the printing house —  I loved how poetic this was.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


Outside the printing house, there was a larger press where you could print your own souvenir poster!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


A closer look at the reversed text, created letter by letter.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair

A volunteer operator carefully helps you remove the print.


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


Excited about my freshly printed poster!


Owl Ink | Bay Area Printer Fair


I hope you enjoyed these photos! This event was a fascinating peek into an old world art form that has not only survived, but found its place as an artisan craft.

While traditional letterpress printing largely went out of style once computers and word processors became mainstream, but that doesn’t mean the art has died out entirely. Just as vinyls and record players are becoming must-haves for discerning hipsters, vintage letterpress and print have seen a revival.

Nowadays, it is in style for brides to have letterpressed wedding invitations, and business professionals to have thick, luxuriously printed business cards. It makes me really happy to know that there is  a demand for these rustic, hand-produced works!

For more information on the Printers’ Guild, check out their website.

Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils

Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


This is part of an ongoing series where I review some of my favorite creative tools!

I first spotted Blackwing pencils on the Instagram posts of various artists I follow, and was intrigued by these supposed “high end pencils”. The more I saw their sophisticated colors and giant, shiny ferrules, the more I needed to try one for myself!

Eager as I was, it actually took me quite a while to get my hands on one. As a Blackwing newbie, I wanted to sample one of each since the different pencils contain varying lead grades. However, Blackwings are only available in packs of 12 at most retailers… and since they aren’t cheap (about $22 for 12), an entire box is a hefty pencil commitment!


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


If you’re lucky though, you can find single versions in little brick-and-mortar shops for about two dollars. I picked up a few at Maido in San Jose, and one at CW Pencils in Manhattan. (I’ve also spotted “eligible singles” at both Kinokuniya branches in San Francisco and NYC, as well as FLAX Art in San Francisco.)


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


The original Blackwing lineup consists of three models: the Blackwing MMX, Blackwing 602, and Blackwing Pearl. Here are some details:

  • Blackwing MMX: softest and darkest graphite, matte black lacquer with gold text, gold ferrule, and a white eraser. This is the only pencil that has a slim gold band printed near the ferrule.
  • Blackwing Pearl: medium graphite, shiny pearl white lacquer with black text, gold ferrule, and a black eraser
  • Blackwing 602: hardest graphite, shiny gray lacquer with two sides of gold text, gold ferrule, and a black eraser. This pencil has Blackwing’s motto, “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed” printed on the body.

The soft MMX lead wears down rather quickly, and is best for sketching. Both the Pearl and 602 have better point retention, and are great as general-use writing pencils. In terms of smoothness, they are all very smooth — a quality that becomes apparent if you write with a Blackwing for a while and then switch back to a cheap school pencil.

It’s hard to tell in these photos, but there really is a slight variation in darkness/lightness as you go from the MMX to the 602.


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


In terms of sharpening, all of them sharpen very well. Cheap pencils tend to have misaligned graphite cores, which mean they frequently snap while sharpening. Quality pencils like the Blackwing have meticulously aligned cores, so they did not have any issues  — even with an older, slightly dull sharpener.


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


They also have large erasers housed in shiny oversized ferrules. I honestly think the gold ferrule is what leads me to reach for Blackwings more often than any other pencil (oooh, shiny!). The eraser can be extended by inching it up from the metal casing, or swapped for other erasers of varying colors.


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


The Apple-esque colors of white, gold, black, and “space gray” make them lovely eye candy on my desk, and pretty props for my photos.


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


If you do decide to splurge on a whole 12-pack of pencils, it is a worthwhile purchase. The packaging is nicely done, with a minimal sleeve and a nice matte black box that definitely worth keeping.


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


Another noteworthy pencil point to mention is that Blackwing offers a seasonal limited edition release, called Volumes. To those outside of the stationery lovers’ circle, a limited edition pencil may seem like a strange thing to be giddy about, but even those with no affinity for stationery can at least appreciate the thoughtful design that goes into these special releases.


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


A recent release, Volume 211, is inspired by the 211-mile John Muir trail that runs from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney. Its natural-wood finish and rustic brown eraser really evoke the woodsy, outdoor spirit of John Muir — making it the perfect match for the Field Notes Shelterwood!


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


As a calligraphy artist, I have found a designated use for the 602 as my envelope sketching pencil — its lead is light enough to be easily erased, yet dark enough that I can see it on colored envelopes. I’ve used up quite a length of this pencil making wedding envelopes and sketching out name cards.


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


I’ve also been experimenting with pencil calligrapy (penciligraphy?), and have found the soft Blackwing MMX capable of creating very elegant line variation. To accomplish this, I treat the pencil like a dip nib or brush tip — press harder on downstrokes for swells, and lighter on upstrokes for hairlines.


Owl Ink Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils


I’ve been using Blackwings in regular rotation for a while now and there’s just something about them that is really unique. Part of the pencil’s allure certainly lies in its chic appearance and the cult mentality of the creative folks that use them!

That being said, it also has an extensive and fascinating history, which covers legendary animators, musicians, and authors like John Steinbeck. History buffs can read about it on the official Blackwing website.

Owl Links | Volume 002

Owl Links: Volume 2


Owl Links is a series in which I curate some interesting things I’ve discovered recently. The links cover a range of topics, such as calligraphy, design, art, stationery, and beyond!


Calligraphy Tool Kit Essential – Gum Arabic: This incredibly helpful guide by Bien Fait Calligraphy teaches you how to use gum arabic, a binding agent that can make even the trickiest inks behave! I’ve never used gum arabic, so this was very informative.

Lettering Snapchats: I love Snapchat for personal use, but I also love how lettering artists and calligraphers are starting to use it as a platform for teaching, branding, and more. If you don’t already, GO FOLLOW @mattvergotis, @tierneystudio, @tinlunstudio, and @highpulpstudio. You will definitely learn something — since I started following their snaps, I’ve learned how to edit pics for Instagram, how to take better photos, and how to refine lettering art with a fine-tip marker. Not only do you get super valuable tips, it’s just fun to watch these guys in action!

White Calligraphy Ink Showdown Part I and Part II: Lindsey’s white ink comparison is so comprehensive! Her two-part review has beautiful photos, and she also covers some inks that I didn’t get to try in my own review.


Color Palette Generator Roundup: The lovely ladies at Besotted gather up some of the best online color palette generators available. They would definitely come in handy when giving your website a makeover!

Creative Market’s Free Goods of the Week: For this week only (week of 2/29 – 3/6), Creative Market is offering up some wonderfully woodsy-themed graphic design goodies for FREE. Love this selection — I downloaded most of them! (Note: If you’re reading this blog post after 3/6, they’ll have released a different set of 6 freebies)

StereoType: Check out some of these awesome fonts by Stereo Type! Free for personal use, and very affordable for commercial use :) Love that lowercase ‘r’…

Stereo Type - Master of Break

Stereo Type - Master of Break



Art + Alchemy by Stephanie Ryan: I’ve been following Stephanie on Instagram, and I am always amazed by her ethereal, elegant watercolor pieces.

Owls: Our Most Charming Bird: This beautifully illustrated book of various owl species is officially on my “Need It” list.

Owls: Our Most Charming Bird, by Matt Sewell



Oraton Library Embosser: If you have as many books as I do, you might consider getting yourself one of these — a handheld embosser that stamps “From the Library of…” inside your book’s first page!

Ink Samples Using the LIFE Index Cards: Really enjoyed Susan’s creative use of the larger index card size — she used the extra space to add detail to her color swatches!


Handwritten: This website collects images, stories, interviews, and other interesting tidbits related to handwriting and handwritten objects. I love it!

Colors & Patterns: I’ve been really into colors and patterns recently, and started a new Pinterest board for some of my favorite pins. Check it out :)


Vintage owl graphic from the British Library Archive of public domain images. Remixed by me using Photoshop PS5. 

Review: White Inks for Calligraphy

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink


I recently had the opportunity to test some white inks, and wanted to share my findings. Specifically, I wanted to see which white inks were best for calligraphy.

Here are my results! I hope you’ll find this helpful :)


White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

White Calligraphy Inks

These inks are either marketed as calligraphy inks or are popular within the calligraphy community. (You can click on the image for a larger view)


 White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen-White – ★★★★

  • Very thick right out of the bottle
  • Requires diluting with distilled water
  • It is ~magical~ once dry, crisp and very opaque
  • Handy eyedropper for easy diluting in separate container

Verdict: Worth the hassle of finding the perfect ink-to-water ratio because it is fantastic when diluted properly.

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White Ink – ★★★★

This is hailed among many calligraphers are the holy grail of white ink! My coworker was kind enough to let me take a dip out of her bottle to test it out.

  • VERY thick and pasty — even thicker than the Pen-White
  • Requires more diluting with distilled water
  • Crisp and opaque once dry
  • Similar to the Pen-White

Verdict: Best ink for the price. Since you are diluting it so much, the tiny bottle will go a long way.

J. Herbin Dip Pen Calligraphy Ink – ★★★☆

  • Lower viscosity and thus writes straight from the bottle.
  • Better ink flow, smoother to write with
  • Less opaque, fades significantly as it dries.

Verdict: I give this ink points for convenience, despite its low opacity. Plus, it is perfect for the rustic/vintage chalkboard look that is quite popular.

Speedball Calligraphy Ink – ★★★☆

  • Only $2! An easy purchase if you are just trying out white calligraphy
  • Bottle shape makes dipping easy
  • Must be diluted with water
  • Quite opaque once dry
  • Less smooth and dries with a bumpy finish

Verdict: If you are going through the trouble of patiently diluting your ink, you might as well go for Dr. Ph. Martin’s.

 J. Herbin Dip Pen Pigmented Ink – ★★☆☆

  • More watery and less opaque than the other J. Herbin white
  • If you write too slowly,  ink drips off the nib
  • If you write quickly, not enough ink is left on the page resulting in faded letters

Verdict: I don’t really like it :(

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

White Comic Inks

Comic artists use white in many ways — adding highlights to eyes and hair, or covering up small mistakes. Many manga artists use the same G nib that is popular among calligraphers, so I figured it was worth a try.

These inks are VERY thick — almost all of them need to be diluted with water to be usable, and it took a lot of trial and error to get the right ink-to-water ratio for all of them. Once diluted, I was pleasantly surprised by how well some of them worked as calligraphy inks!

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Copic Opaque White – ★★★★

  • Very thick out of the bottle, requires diluting
  • Smooth once diluted
  • Very opaque and crisp when dry
  • Annoyingly tiny bottle
  • Kind of expensive for the size

Verdict: The most opaque of the comic inks, if you can get past the price and the frustration of scooping the ink out of the tiny bottleneck.

Deleter White #1 and White #2 – ★★★★

  • Very thick out of the bottle, requires diluting
  • Smooth once diluted
  • Opaque when dry
  • #2 is waterproof!

Verdict: There isn’t much difference between the two, but I found #1 to be slightly smoother.

IC Comic Art White and Super White -★★★☆

  • Very thick out of  the bottle, requires diluting
  • Not as smooth as Deleter inks
  • Super White is very opaque when dry

Verdict: The regular Art White is mediocre, the Super White is much better.

Kaimei Manga Ink – ★★☆☆

  • Thinnest manga ink – thus, surprisingly smooth out of the bottle
  • Decently opaque when dry
  • Annoying caveat: chalky bubble effect

Verdict: Pretty decent, but with one MAJOR caveat. The pigment settles to the bottom, so when you shake the bottle to mix up the ink, a mass of bubbles forms. As you write, your pen leaves a trail of tiny bubbles that dry inside your calligraphy, making it look rough and messy :/

Kuretake Comic White – ★★☆☆

  • Very thick out of the bottle, requires diluting
  • Not cooperative with the paper I used
  • Difficult to write with
  • Not very opaque once diluted

Verdict: This is one comic ink that cannot really be used as a calligraphy ink. It works on some papers, but not on others — not worth the gamble


Some examples of my favorite inks in action…

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen-White

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Speedball Calligraphy White

White Calligraphy Ink Review | Owl Ink

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen-White on a light gray envelope


There are some other white inks that I’ve heard about, but not yet tried. Eventually, I hope to try all of them…

Note: All product photos from and Review photos by me.

Materials Used: